St Dogmaels is distinguished by its magnificent crosses and a sagranus stone in the pre-norman church, which are evidence of much earlier roots.
Yet this is very much a 21st century community. The Coach House, an arts, enterprise, community and heritage centre, is run by Hanes Llandoch: a group of volunteers like Melrose who raised funds to convert the characterful building into an information centre with a wholefood café and gallery, hosting groups ranging from Hapus i Siarad, (an informal Welsh class), to art, crafts and local history.
On Tuesdays, adjacent to Y Felin, a working water mill originally built to serve the Abbey, a local produce market buzzes with colour and tantalising aromas. It’s a great place to buy affordable, locally produced food, catch up with old friends and make new ones.
Head for the river where wooden posts spiking the sky were once draped with nets for traditional Seine fishing. Savour place names, like the ‘Pinog’ and ‘Netpool’ where fishermen were allotted a pitch by a numbered stone, or ‘Glanteifon’, a former ship building site. Seek out the Carreg y Fendith or Blessing Stone and follow the riverside trail.
Lively conversations, delicious tastes, stunning landscape, tranquil waters and peaceful corners to sit and contemplate. Who was the inspiration for the sculpted mermaid reclining beside Glanteifon slip way? This is just one of many local stories.
Visitors are invited to slow down and absorb St Dogmaels, a rounded cultural experience, familiar to Europeans as an ecomuseum or ‘museum without walls’, offering layers of history, culture, language, myths, legends – and friendly people who are willing to share a few of the secrets, like the origin of the saints behind the bilingual place name.
Contact The Coach House: firstname.lastname@example.org or 01239 615389.